Projection and Transference

Powerful emotions of which we are uncomfortable with owning can be pushed out of awareness, and it’s also possible that they can develop out of our awareness without any suppression. Untapped wells that run this deep may become content for transference and projection. These challenging emotions are often associated with specific persons in our lives.
Projection: when we unknowingly and mistakenly associate emotions, which we find too perturbing and difficult to own, with another person’s intention and behaviours. It’s as if we experience the emotions and in that moment are too uneasy to accept them as ours, yet as they are in experience (consciously or subconsciously), the underlying feeling of them gets associated with a person other than ourselves.
Transference: when we have powerful emotions associated with someone in our life, often in our past, and have developed specific, emotions, thoughts and stances in regard to them, and an unrelated person reminds us of them (consciously or subconsciously). We start relating to the unrelated person in the present with the emotions, thoughts and dispositions we have previously formed about another person in the past.

Here is a snippet from the malevolence page which describes a situation when both can be present in a situation:
“Sometimes, where malevolent people are too frightened to own their violent impulses, they could suffer from projection. They may erroneously attribute the feelings from those impulses as originating from someone else.
Nevertheless, in many cases, the essence of malevolence is the surfacing of unresolved serious psychological conflicts from the past. A person in the present may resemble an aspect of those past conflicts. The person illuminates the memories, and this triggers the overwhelming negativity. When the person in the present resembles a person in the past who’s deeply resented, unknowingly the feelings of resentment can be reattributed to the unrelated person in the present; a process called transference.
Both of these disturbing conflicted states can work off one another. They can blend into a virtually indecipherable connection that perpetuates negativity.
For example, when Zoe first meets Charles, he reminds her of a domineering person from her past, and she begins to believe Charles is a domineering personality as she’s seen his type before (transference). Zoe then experiences malevolence towards Charles that she cannot own, and she then misinterprets it as originating from him (projection). Zoe believes that Charles is a dominating personality who wants to hurt her. Believing it to contain malicious intent, she reacts aggressively to a question he asks, and Charles in return gets angry with her for attacking him. Zoe determines Charles’s anger to be a validation of his domineeringly malevolent personality.”

Projection and Transference


Latin. Proicere = throw forth.

1. The psychological state where thought, impulses and emotions are disowned or suppressed by an individual who is uncomfortable with their existance, and then attributes their existence to originating in someone else..


German. übertragung (Freud) = psychological transference.

1. The psychological process whereby people unknowigly tranfers emotions they feel towards someone in their past onto another person who, typicaly, resembles the person in the past.